Generally, there are two types of coaches out there: Good cops and bad cops. Good cops are the encouragers, offering lots of words of motivation and the basic rah-rah. Bad cops are the tough love coaches, telling it how it is and reminding you (not gently) that no, you can’t have pizza as a reward for crushing today’s workout.
I’m a good cop. *shakes pom pons* I believe in you. No matter how many times you tell me you’ll do something and don’t follow through, I’m still going to believe in you.
So at my gym, we offer a free fitness & nutrition strategy session, designed to customize a plan for members or potential members. Over the years, I’ve met with people from all fitness backgrounds with all kinds of goals and naturally, all kinds of excuses.
They say you should never judge a book by it’s cover and I pride myself on being really good at that. Because I’m the good cop, I’ll ask you questions, offer encouragement, create a plan for you and truly believe that you will follow through.
But just like there are two types of coaches, there are two types of strategy-session participants: the dreamer and the doer. So as your encouraging, good-cop-coach, I’m asking you to wholeheartedly assess which one you are so that you can proceed accordingly, in fitness and in life.
Here’s how it works: I ask a series of questions about you, your fitness background and your goals. You answer them, then I prescribe a strategy. So here we go…
Me: Let’s start with an easy one. Are you a morning or evening workout person?
Doer: Evening, I’ll come after work.
Dreamer: *pause* Well, how many workouts are we talking about? I guess I could try morning workouts.
Me: Ok, how about the number of workouts you’re ready to commit to each week?
Doer: I’ll do a minimum of three and occasionally get a fourth when I can.
Dreamer: Ummm, maybe three? Is that enough?
Me: Let’s talk about what you’ve been doing, workout-wise.
Doer: Honestly, it’s been awhile. I had a routine – I was lifting weights and attending a few cardio classes each week – but then life got in the way and I didn’t make it a priority, but I realize that I have to be healthy to take care of those around me so I’m ready to make a commitment to myself.
Dreamer: I’ve tried quite a few things. I bought P90X and made it through about 40 days of it, then I signed up at that 24-hour gym but I wasn’t using it so I quit. I went to a cycling studio and I signed up for 23 classes. I only went to seven but I was busy. Then I hired a personal trainer and worked with her for a couple months but I wasn’t seeing results so I fired her. And now I’m here.
Me: What about your nutrition? How’s that?
Doer: I could eat better. I know a good nutrition plan will help my workouts in terms of energy, performance and recovery. It’s all part of making my health a priority. Once I have a plan, I’ll follow it.
Dreamer: I’ve tried quite a few things. I did Atkins and Paleo but honestly, who can stick to something that strict? I’m about to try Keto because I think that’s what my body needs. I’ll definitely try a nutrition plan if you put one together for me but how many cheat days do I get?
One of my favorite quotes is, “How we do something is how we do everything.” If you find yourself relating more to the dreamer than the doer in the questions above, the first step is just admitting it. Second, do you find that nonchalance crossing over into other areas of your life?
It’s what I like to call the Convenient & Comfortable Plan:
- When, and how often, are you going to work out? When it’s convenient. How often is something you haven’t scheduled ahead of time going to conveniently fit into your schedule?
- Are you willing to commit to a fitness and nutrition plan? If it’s comfortable. How often do you see people achieve extraordinary things by staying inside their comfort zone.
If you’re a doer, awesome. I challenge you to set a big-ass hairy goal for yourself and go do you. It won’t be difficult for you to get back into the routine you once had, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find a place that gives you options that line up with your workout preferences and schedule. Then go smash it.
If you’re a dreamer, own it. Recognize that that’s you, and now let’s set a plan to overcome and achieve. Three quick tips:
- Set a workout appointment with yourself because you are a priority. Put it in your calendar. You wouldn’t cancel an appointment with your boss so don’t you dare cancel on yourself.
- Make a nutrition lifestyle change over a period of time versus going on a “diet.” Going from a cheeseburger-and-donut diet to strictly chicken and vegetables is not going to go over well with your mental psyche. Week one can be a small transition with calories and macros. Week two tweaks a little more, then again in week three. Asking about cheat meals means you’re in a “when is this over” mindset, instead of realizing that eating healthy doesn’t have to be a restriction on delicious foods. You just have to find things you like. What’s that? You don’t like kale and brussel sprouts? Fine. Don’t eat them. There are plenty of healthy, yummy foods out there and your coach can help you find them.
- Ditch the Convenient & Comfortable Plan. This is my best attempt at being the bad cop: Changing your fitness and nutrition plan will not be easy, but it will be worth it. In our busy lives, we’re not going to mysteriously find an extra hour every day and until they make calorie-free ice cream that tastes like Ben & Jerry’s, you’re going to have to get uncomfortable. But if you change your attitude (“Yep, this is tough but I’m tougher”) and priorities (“I don’t have extra time but I’m choosing to spend my time on things that will make me better”), you’ll set yourself up for success.
One day at a time. Trust the process. Rah-rah, sis-boom-bah.